• How to Use Social Media in Your B2B Marketing Strategy

    Traditionally, B2B companies have found it difficult to deploy and analyze social media campaigns. Many of these businesses don’t feel that this sort of marketing is valuable or relevant to their business. Despite these feelings, however, social media marketing is an effective way to reach both B2C and B2B customers online.

    The fourth annual “B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America” report from MarketingProfs’ and the Content Marketing Institute showed that the confidence of B2B content marketers is increasing, with 42% of respondents saying they consider themselves effective, up from 36% the previous year. The report noted that the reason for this increase is that now 44% of B2B content marketers have a defined and documented content strategy while 73% have a person to oversee the content marketing strategy.

    B2B marketers with a strategy are more effective on social media. But how else can they position themselves for success? Here are some tips that B2B companies can use to fine-tune their marketing strategies:

    Know the audience.

    The foundation of any good social media campaign is knowing who your audience is and the best way to reach them with messaging. The more a marketer knows about his audience, the better able he is to tailor campaigns for them and increase his ROI. A B2B company should know their audience on both the broader organizational level as well as an individual/buyer level. What problems is the organization facing, and how is the purchasing decision maker going to solve those problems? B2B marketers should be able to articulately and effectively demonstrate the benefits of their product or service to these consumers.

    Pick the right networks.

    The success of a social media campaign depends on many things. While the quality of posts and the correct frequency of those posts is important, it’s vital to first decide exactly where a business should be posting. Every social network is different in its own way, including the user demographics that visit each one. Before launching a social marketing campaign, B2B marketers need to determine what network is right for their message. For example, a 2012 survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project showed that women and adults ages 18-29 are most likely to use Facebook while adults ages 18-29, African-Americans, and urban residents are more likely to use Twitter. The survey also found that Internet users under the age of 50 are more likely to use social networking sites, and 83% of people aged 18-29 use social media. The Internet Projects “Social Media Update 2013” showed that 73% of adults use a social networking site of some kind and 42% use multiple sites. Before joining any social network, B2B marketers should learn what type of users are on it and decide if these users are relevant to the business’ goals.

    Define goals.

    Having defined goals allows B2B marketers to examine the effectiveness of each social campaign and determine if it has resulted in the proper conversions. Sales may be the most important goal for B2B companies, but it is important not to dismiss the positives of brand awareness and customer loyalty that is built through engagement campaigns. After all, these engaged customers may soon convert to sales. Marketers should take a deeper look at social interactions and consider them as lead nurturing opportunities.

    Determine which metrics to track.

    There are a variety of metrics to track, but it is important to pare these down to those that make sense for a business. It can be useful to track gains in followers and engagement metrics (retweets, likes, comments, etc.), but it is also important to track more nuanced metrics, like tracking a sales lead to see if it originated on a social network. B2B marketers in particular will want to track how many leads are being generated by social media campaigns.

    Successful B2B marketing campaigns depend upon documented strategies. By using more strategic initiatives, B2B companies will be better able to meet their goals as well as amplify their content. Social media can become an essential tool in helping B2B companies both raising brand awareness and getting a leg up on the competition – it just needs a good strategy behind it.

    Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer from Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.

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